As a child, Tony Blauer was afraid of getting beat up. He was also inordinately attracted to fight scenes in movies.
So at the age of 12, he signed up for Taekwondo. He trained seven days a week, and he was “obsessive,” says Blauer, now 53. From the ages of 20 to 25, he did 30 to 40 private lessons a week. Eventually he opened his own school. But it wasn’t until one of his students lost a fight that Blauer realized he was incorrectly teaching self-defense. He needed to understand the psychology of fear.
Through a conversation with CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman, Blauer began to further see why victims of violence so often don’t fight back: they’re afraid to lose.
“(Glassman) went on to say, ‘If the fight’s gonna happen anyways and you choose not to fight back, what you risk is losing everything. But if the fight’s gonna happen anyways, and you get into the fight and you happen to lose the fight, all you lost was the fight’—’cause you still have your emotional, psychological system, ya know, intact,” explains Blauer, who owns Blauer Tactical Systems and leads the CrossFit Defense Specialty Course.
“And that is true research-wise, where victims of violence who fought back don’t have the same (post-traumatic stress disorder) as people who just cooperated—that’s huge, powerful.”
Video by Jon Gilbert and Jay Vera.
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Additional reading: Face the Fear: Lessons From Newtown by Hilary Achauer, published Jan. 25, 2013.